After a 10-day closure of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) for construction to shorten the airport runway by 1,500 feet, the airport reopened today, December 23, 2017 with a 3,500-foot runway. The construction project was completed on time and on budget. The runway shortening is part of the historic Consent Decree between the City of Santa Monica and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which gives the City the authority to close the airport after 2028 and to shorten the runway immediately.
The shortened runway will reduce jet traffic and pollution over residential neighborhoods in both Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
“This is a great day for the City of Santa Monica and our residents,” said Mayor Ted Winterer. “We stayed the course and kept our eye on delivering a shortened runway just in time to usher in the New Year with reduced noise and pollution from large jets.”
On December 15, the United States District Court, Central District of California dismissed in its entirety a case challenging the Consent Decree.
Plaintiffs Kate Scott and James Babinski had argued that the City failed to follow certain state law requirements when it entered the Consent Decree. In October 2017, Judge Ronald Lew granted a temporary restraining order briefly halting the shortening of the runway but later dissolved that order and denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction.
“Despite the delays created by plaintiffs, the project was completed on time and on budget,” said Mayor Winterer.
The historic agreement with the FAA follows decades of work by the Santa Monica community to mitigate impacts of airport operations on local communities. The runway shortening will bring immediate relief to residents and became effective December 23, 2017, when the construction concluded.
The FAA certified the approach equipment for the shortened runway earlier this week.